As of Dec. 1, the state will begin accepting applications for grants geared at increasing the demand for vehicles that replace gasoline with natural gas.
The state Department of Environmental Protection announced Thursday it will make $20 million available over the next three years to help in the initial purchase and conversion costs of heavy-duty natural gas vehicles.
The grant money will come from funds coming to the state from oil companies drilling wells in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale and other forms of natural gas.
In the first year, $10 million in grants will be available to public transportation services and other local transportation organizations, including non-profits, DEP Secretary Michael Krancer said in a statement.
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission also will be eligible for the grants.
The funding breakdown calls for $7.5 million to be available in 2014 and $2.5 million in 2015.
Eligible vehicles must weigh 14,000 pounds or more and be fueled with compressed natural gas or liquified natural gas. Bi-fuel vehicles are also eligible.
The grants will pay no more than 50 percent of the cost of vehicle purchase or retrofit cost per vehicle with a cap of $25,000 per vehicle.
In the first year, the grant applications are due by Feb. 1, 2013, with awards announced in late March.
To learn more, visit www.dep.state.pa.us and click on the Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program.